How To Calm Your Nerves Before You Take the Mic

The Essential 5-Minute Prep

How To Calm Your Nerves Before You Take the Mic: The Essential 5-Minute Prep

First off know that it’s completely normal and natural to be nervous before speaking in front of a group.

We are born with two natural fears: loud noises and falling. The other fears are products of our environment including public speaking.

But you can come across as being completely sure of yourself, even if you can’t completely shake the jitters.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your calm before you take the mic.
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1. Wiggle your toes
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Studies show that wiggling your toes reduces stress levels and decreases anxiety.

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2. Chat with Your Audience Before Your Presentation
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Meet and greet people before you get on stage. Talking with audiences makes you seem more likeable and approachable. Ask event attendees questions and take in their responses. They may even give you some inspiration to weave into your talk.

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3. Claim the three “audience realities”.
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One: They believe you’re the expert, so don’t tell them otherwise.
Two: They want you to succeed, so they’re on your side.
Three: They won’t know when you make a mistake, so don’t broadcast it.

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4. Find a Pre Talk song.
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Athletes and entertainers use this strategy to focus before they take the stage, or start their sport.
Find a song that gets you pumped up and listen to it backstage before every talk. It has to be “your song”, a song that gets your adrenaline to the perfect level: It has to give you enough so you’re saying “You’ve got this, (insert your name), they are going to love you”. Any song that can make you feel that way is worth taking a few minutes to listen to before jumping on stage. Many athletes do it, why not you.

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5. Visualize your success.
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Sports psychologists have proven that an athlete’s ability to vividly visualize his or her success creates a higher win rate. ,Before your next presentation, mentally walk yourself through the presentation. Picture yourself speaking with confidence and poise; see your audience responding positively.

Nervousness is a natural reaction to speaking in front of large groups. However, try to think of this emotion as a “readiness to share you”, and a type of excitement that is necessary for you to speak. You’ve been sub-consciously programmed to think that you fear it, so how about intentionally creating how you perceive your nervousness? It’s within your control. That simple change of view can change your whole attitude.

Share how you deal with your nerves before you speak in the comment area.

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Stay Amazing! — Karen Donaldson

The Ultimate Connection Tool When Speaking

Showing Vulnerability

Being vulnerable is quite difficult for a lot of people. Showing vulnerability, in general, is hard when you add speaking in front of an audience (intimidating to begin with), adding yet another layer of vulnerability…it can seem even more challenging. However, it’s the right direction to move in if you want to create a deeper connection and authentically connect with your audience.

I believe it’s fair to say that the best presentations do one thing extremely well, and that is; create a truly personal connection. The singular thing we all share as human beings are feelings of fear or vulnerability. If you’re willing to open up about yours, it can help people feel a stronger connection with you.

From time to time when I work with my senior management clients, the conversation around vulnerability when speaking is a tough one. Clarity comes when they are able to clean up their misconceptions about vulnerability and acknowledge that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. In truth, the ability to be vulnerable is a sign of strength.

Here’s my own example: At some of my talks I share my story of getting pregnant in my last year of high school, persevering, getting out of my own way, graduating with top awards, getting my BASc and going on to co-lead the community development initiative for Canada’s 1st ever social housing redevelopment project.

I don’t bring it up to impress people by any means, but I mention it to show people that hey — I too just like them have experienced adversity, walked with my head high through the mud and come out on top.

I become relatable. They can identify with trudging through tough times, we have all been there (maybe not pregnant in high school…but you get what I mean). They have something that they too have gone through, that has scarred them, but they have still come out on top.

Hearing about my adversity, keeps my talks “real” and reminds people of the power they have and all of the things they themselves have overcome. That’s where the true connection comes from, we have a connection as real human beings.

I’m not saying every presentation needs a serious, deep issue in it. But don’t be afraid to discuss things that make you feel vulnerable if they’re relevant. It can be a powerful connection and engagement tool.

I have a senior executive client who often shares his ritual with his kids that they do every time he goes out of town for work. No, it doesn’t make him look soft, quite the contrary. It allows him to develop an instant connection with his audience as a human being. He takes off his official hat as a corporate leader and allows for his audience to see him as one of them, which he is. He instantly connects with the parents, the grandparents, the aunts, the uncles, essentially anyone who has a child in their life in any capacity.

It takes a powerful person to be vulnerable in front of an audience. Being vulnerable comes down to being OK with you, your perfections imperfections and all.

Contact me at karen@karendonaldsoninc.com if you’re ready to bring your speaking skills to a new level of great.

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Stay Amazing! — Karen Donaldson

Managing Your Fear Of Public Speaking

To Speak Well in any setting means: Accepting the Role of “SPEAKER”

I know it sounds cave mannish, however whenever you speak up in front of a group, YOU = Speaker…like it or not.

Unfortunately, most people go into the speaking experience focusing on this:

“I CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS TO BE OVER”

Sound familiar?

It’s a type of mental resistance that will never serve you in the right way.

Accepting the role of the speaker instead of wanting to quickly end the speaking experience is one of the quickest ways to rid yourself of your Public Speaking Fear and to remove your mental resistance.

Fearful speakers create anxiety for themselves when they don’t embrace the role of Speaker. Instead, they try to be the “Finished Speaker”.

They try to “get through” the experience without committing themselves to the role of Speaker.

They talk fast, they don’t look at the audience the audience, and they focus mainly on being done. The entire time they are focusing on being the “Finished Speaker”.

The result of this mental resistance is, typically, that it gives you more public speaking anxiety, not less – just the opposite of what you want.

Here’s 3 Ways to Help you to Embrace…”Speaker”

1. Change Your Perspective and Self Talk.
If you go around thinking that you “hate” public speaking, you will forever be uncomfortable. The place to start is by thinking something true yet positive: i.e. I can’t wait to share my ideas with people. I know what I have to share will benefit many people. etc

2. Speak From a Genuine Place.
Public speaking becomes much easier when you’re telling the world about a something, someone, some idea, some (you fill in the blank) that you have a deep connection to. Whatever you share, truly identify with why this is compelling to you, or why you believe in it and share from that place.

3. Just Keep Doing It!
The only way to feel more comfortable speaking publicly is to speak. Keep doing it, over and over and over again.

Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.

If you have something to say or share and you choose to Speak, make the choice to speak and stop living the life of a Finished Speaker.

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Stay Amazing! — Karen Donaldson

Tired of Rambling When You Talk

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Tired of Rambling When You Talk….Keep Reading

If you’ve ever left a meeting or a conversation saying to yourself, What did I just say? What was I thinking? Why did I keep talking?

Don’t worry it happens to a lot of people. It’s not uncommon, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

If you ever struggle to be clear, direct and have what you say flow nicely this is a post you want to read.

Usually, what my clients say to me is something like this: “I started talking, and then I kept talking, and then I lost my point and where I was, and then I didn’t know what to do so I kept talking and didn’t know how to stop. Then it just went downhill from there.”

Whenever this happens you jeopardize your credibility, your message, and your reputation.

Here are some tips to help you rein in your rambling.

1. Slow Your Pace
I often teach my clients that they must be intentional about slowing down their pace when they speak. It allows your listeners to absorb and retain what you are saying. An individual with a hearing impairment should be able to read your lips.

2. Power Pause
I always teach my clients that the “pause is on your side”. The next time you’re worried about rambling in a conversation or meeting, pause. Pause before you start to speak pauses if you feel yourself speeding up, pause to gather your thoughts. Learn to intentionally use a pause, it will help you to increase your impact as a speaker.

3. Front Load
Front loading is a communication strategy where you deliver your core message right from the get go, get people’s attention and then just deliver content to support your core message. It simplifies things, helps you to stay focused and spells out what your listener needs to hear immediately.

Use the tips to slow your roll and increase your impact when you speak.

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—Karen Donaldson